The City of Duncan will consider a staff recommendation to allow an emergency shelter for woman on Cairnsmore Street at its meeting on Monday night. (File photo)

Women’s emergency shelter being considered for Duncan’s Cairnsmore neighbourhood

Site would be 540 Cairnsmore Street

A temporary emergency shelter for women is being considered at 540 Cairnsmore St. in Duncan.

Staff at the City of Duncan are recommending that council give a green light to establishing the 15-bed shelter at the site of the former Duncan Primary School at the next council meeting on Sept. 17.

The shelter would only be in operation from November to March.

The recommendation is being made after the Cowichan Women Against Violence organization began an application process for the shelter with the city last spring.

But staff are also recommending that approval only be given as long as the shelter agrees to operate under strict guidelines.

These include that adequate staff and security must be present during its hours of operation, a security plan be submitted to the RCMP, no drugs or alcohol are allowed on the premises, and outdoor activity and intake areas must be landscaped and/or screened from public view and from the view of adjacent properties.

Last year, an extreme weather shelter for women that was proposed by The United Way and the Cowichan Coalition for Homelessness and Affordable Housing, that was to be situated at the closed Charles Hoey School, was cancelled after School District 79, which owns the building, pulled its support after the plan faced a backlash from the neighbourhood.

RELATED STORY: WOMEN’S SHELTER NOT GOING AHEAD IN DUNCAN

At the time, Duncan council also made zoning amendments stating that homeless shelters are not allowed in residential areas unless council gives its approval first, and that any shelter should not be placed in a residential area without prior consultation with the neighbourhood.

RELATED STORY: SEARCH CONTINUES FOR LOCATION OF WOMEN’S SHELTER

A staff report stated that the city had sent out public notification of the proposal for Cairnsmore Street to nearby neighbours and provided notice in the newspaper for two consecutive weeks, as well as putting information on the City’s website.

Cowichan Women Against Violence has also conducted a public consultation process.

The report said feedback from the public includes concerns around public loitering, drug and alcohol use in the neighbourhood, domestic violence, litter and crime.

The report stated that those engaged in the Cairnsmore community are likely aware of the social concerns that already exist in the neighbourhood.

It said setting up an emergency shelter could be used as a tool for increased management of the issues that the neighbourhood is already facing.

“There is an opportunity to learn about and monitor some of these concerns,” the report states.

“In addition, there is an opportunity to provide an increased level of community engagement, put more eyes on the street, and provide additional support programs to address the existing challenges in the neighbourhood.”

Mayor Phil Kent said the process is different from last year in that council has developed a process to ensure the public has input into any decisions that are made on the placement of emergency shelters.

“I imagine that we’ll hear many points of view on this issue at Monday’s council meeting,” he said.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Sangha denied bail in Cowichan confinement case

Sangha’s trial begins in Duncan on Jan.6

Duncan woman shares experiences abroad with Doctors Without Borders

Julia Saurazas works with Doctors Without Borders

Duncan city council declares climate change emergency

“I think sometimes it’s important to start with identifying the fact that something’s real.”

Andrea Rondeau column: Second chance for dogs in Duncan bylaw a good idea

I’m not usually timid around animals, big or small.

Drivesmart column: Electronic monitoring pilot projects already underway

Our current system of trying to change driver behaviour largely consists of traffic tickets

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Sexual assaults, extortion on the rise even as crime rates stay low: Stats Canada

Rates of police-reported sexual assault rose for the fourth year in a row

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Most Read